Wednesday 16 Jan 2019
Network Rail announces date for major upgrade to Leicestershire’s railway
Network Rail has announced the dates for a six-day rail closure in Market Harborough to allow major work to the county’s railway to take place as part of the Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement Project which forms part of the £1.4bn Midland Mainline upgrade programme.
Between Tuesday 28 May and Sunday 2 June (inclusive), the section of the Midland Main Line which runs between Kettering and Leicester will be closed, with no trains able to run on it.
Network Rail is currently working to install almost two miles of track in a new, straighter alignment as well as new signalling equipment. During the six-day closure, engineers will connect the new straighter track to the existing track, enabling passenger services to run on the new alignment from Monday 3 June when all train services resume.
To allow this work to take place safely, no train services will run on this part of the line. Instead coach replacement services and diversionary routes will be in operation. There will also be some reduction of East Midlands Trains services and extended journey times on its services to and from London Passengers are strongly urged to check before they travel via the dedicated web page eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/mhr2019
This vital work is part of the Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement Project which is a £53 million investment into the railway in this area. Once completed, trains will be to travel through the area at higher speeds.
The project will also see improvements to Market Harborough railway station, such as a new footbridge with lifts which will make journeys more accessible for all station users. Work will also take place to extend platforms, to reduce stepping distances onto trains whilst also catering for longer trains with more seats.
Car parking at the station will also be improved. A new 300 space car park has already been constructed providing step-free access to platforms for passengers arriving by car and car parking spaces at the station will increase by another 200 by December 2019.
Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “This work is the crux of the Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement project and will see the new, straightened track connected to the existing line.
“There’s never an ideal time to carry out this type of work and we do appreciate that the work will be disruptive. We are working closely with East Midlands Trains to keep passengers moving and we thank passengers for their patience.
“This project will also bring improvements to Market Harborough station and will make sure we can continue to meet the needs of the communities and economies which our railway serves.”
Jake Kelly, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains said: “We are working alongside Network Rail to deliver a vastly improved Market Harborough station and by the end of 2019 it will provide lifts and a new footbridge, a significantly larger customer car park, longer platforms for longer trains and straighter track for quicker journeys across the Midland Main Line.
"We appreciate that the closure of the station will inconvenience some of our passengers during this time however, the improvement works will make the station more accessible for all our passengers in the future".
Tom Goshawk, Capital Projects Manager for the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Fast and efficient transport is vital to economic growth. That is why the D2N2 LEP has put £5million of its Local Growth Fund allocation into the Market Harborough Line Speed Improvement Project; funding alongside neighbouring LEPs, Sheffield City Region and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.
“The line closure will allow vital works as part of this £53m project, enabling trains to travel more quickly along this length of the Midland Main Line, with major improvements also to Market Harborough railway station.”
Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP said: “The Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) have contributed £3m of Local Growth Fund towards the station and line improvements at Market Harborough.
“Inevitably major works of this nature cause unavoidable disruption. However, this is just a few days, after which, faster non-stop journey times between London St. Pancras, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield will be possible.
“These important works will lead to better time table capacity and flexibility which is good news for commuters and the shorter travel time to London is a major factor for businesses investing in the region.”
Notes to Editors
D2N2 is the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
Local Enterprise Partnerships are private sector-led, locally-owned partnerships between business, local authorities, skills and training providers, and community and voluntary organisations. There are 38 LEPs in England.
They play a central role in deciding local economic priorities and undertaking activities to drive economic growth and create local jobs.
D2N2, established in 2010, is one of the largest LEPs in England, covering an area with a population of more than two million people and with an economic output of over £45billion GVA (Gross Value Added). Its Chief Executive Officer is Sajeeda Rose and its Chair Elizabeth Fagan.
D2N2’s target is to support the creation of 55,000 new jobs in D2N2 by 2023. The majority of these jobs will be in the private sector.
Its vision is of a more prosperous, better connected, and increasingly resilient and competitive economy.
Its purpose is to support and encourage economic growth in the D2N2 region.
Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone.
That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12billion through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders. UK Government analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, there are more than 4.8 million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.